Review of Wave Box waveshaping effect by AudioThing

Introduction

AudioThing have introduced Wave Box, a dynamic dual waveshaping plugin in VST / AU / AAX formats in both 32 and 64 bit versions typically priced at 49 Euros although at the time of writing is currently on sale at 35 Euros. A demo version is also available.

I’m a big fan of AudioThing, they produce a range of different and interesting effects with a great sound quality and they are very reasonably priced too. I’ve previously reviewed Fog Convolver (Convolution Reverb); Outer Space (Vintage Tape Echo); Space Strip (Multi-Effect plugin); The Orb (Formant filter effect) and Frostbite (Ring mod / feedback / freeze effect).

Wave Box continues this line of development as a dynamic waveshaper plugin that can be used for symmetrical and asymmetrical distortion. In essence you have two separate waveshapers that can be mixed together whilst being modulated by 2 LFOs and an envelope follower.

Verdict

It’s very easy to use, it sounds great and produces a much wider range of effects than expected. It can produce a wide range of distortion sounds from subtle tube style overdrive to really harsh digital distortion. It can also produce other effects such as tremolo, vinyl crackles and compression type effects. The automation elements really enhance the usability of the effect. These can be used to create a range of movement from subtle to extreme and the LFOs at low rate settings can also be used to produce a very slow ‘step change’ or random type of effect. There’s also a very handy randomise option which can provide some inspiration for some unusual effects.

I’ve had great fun using Wave Box, I’ve created a 3 track EP embedded above using a series of loops from Function Loops / Sharp Label each of which are processed with Wave Box and some also use RP Verb 2 (Rob Papen). It also includes a remix was created using stems from burz II processed with SpecOps (Unfiltered Audio), Ultratap (Eventide), RP Verb 2 and RP Delay (Rob Papen).

In-Depth Review

As with other AudioThing plugins, the GUI is well designed and clearly laid out.

WB_screenshot.jpg

The shaping section is the heart of the effect. By default the plugin starts in symmetrical mode and you can switch to asymmetrical mode by clicking the ‘+-’ button in the top left corner.

WB_shaping.jpg

There are 6 different shaping options for each of the waveshaping functions – tanh, sinh, sin, linear, floor and round. The adjacent control determines the amount of curve for the selected waveshaping function.

The ceiling controls the dynamic range of functions and the effect of the bias control is determined by what mode you are using. Symmetrical mode applies the waveshaping equally to positive and negative parts of the signal and the bias controls the mix between the two functions.

Asymmetrical mode applies the first waveshaping function to the positive part of the signal whilst the second waveshaping function is applied to the negative part of the signal and the bias control adds an offset between the positive and negative parts of the signal.

Next to the shaping controls is a very handy oscilloscope which allows you to visualise the resulting waveshape.

WB_oscilloscope.jpg

At the bottom of the display are the LFOs and envelope follower. These add automation to the waveshaping which can produce subtle or extreme movement in the sound.

The two LFOs each have a sync control, rate and amount settings. There are four destinations – bias, curve 1, curve 2 and ceiling. There are six different waveform options – sine, triangle, square, ramp up, ramp down, random and you can adjust the phase by clicking on the wave display and dragging to the right to increase and to the left to decrease phase setting.

WB_LFO1.jpg

The envelope follower has attack, release and amount settings and also has the four destinations of bias, curve 1, curve 2 and ceiling.

WB_envFollower.jpg

The master section in the top right has input, dry/wet mix and output controls. There is also a switch to enable a hard clip limiter and the option to choose one of four oversampling settings which avoids aliasing but increases CPU usage.

WB_master.jpg

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